Why Scottie Pippen Blames Charles Barkley for His 1998–99 Failed Houston Rockets Superteam

Published 11/10/2021, 9:30 AM EST


After being a significant part of the Chicago Bulls’ journey to six NBA championships, both Phil Jackson and Michael Jordan retired. This led to Scottie Pippen being traded off to the Houston Rockets. Unfortunately, he and Charles Barkley never got along. Even to date, the two of them hardly ever speak highly of each other.

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In a recent interview with Pippen, who is already trending because of his rash and shocking revelations about Michael Jordan and ‘ The Last Dance’, he spoke about why he immediately called it quits with the Rockets. Of course, Charles Barkley was the biggest reason for it.

When the two of them started off their career as professional basketball players, they considered one another an arch-nemesis. But due to unforeseen circumstances, the two became teammates for the 1998-99 NBA season, which was shortened to 50 games because of the lockout.

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Pippen had become a huge entity at the time. The Rockets would have and did all they could to add him to their roster. For that, Barkley had to suffer. To create cap space for Scottie, Charles had salary cuts, which only made things worse. Apart from these two, the Rockets also had Hakeem Olajuwon. However, their chemistry issues were the least of their problems. As per Scottie, Barkley was not committed to the game.

WATCH THIS STORY: Anthony Davis, Scottie Pippen, & Other Teammates of LeBron James and Michael Jordan Pick Sides in GOAT Debate

Scottie Pippen explains why it didn’t work with the Houston Rockets

The Houston Rockets did find their way into the postseason, but their problems were visible to all. This is why they were defeated by the Lakers’ duo of Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal in the first round itself. And now Pippen has given a more detailed insight into Barkley’s unacceptable behavior, because of which he openly demanded a trade afterward.

“I thought I was joining a super team,” said the Bulls’ legend. “But it just didn’t work out. We didn’t have the right chemistry and we were aging a little bit. I felt like it wasn’t a good fit for me.” Pippen agreed that recovering from his injury should have been an indication to surround himself with more younger players. And, he didn’t realize how much Hakeem’s game had fallen.

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“I didn’t realize Charles wasn’t as dedicated as I thought he would be. I mean, I went to Houston to help Charles Barkley win a championship. I just felt his dedication wasn’t there once I got there,” he stated.

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Pippen already had titles of his own and wasn’t as desperate for more. So, he decided to move and join a team with players that he could actually rely on. Hence, he landed up with the Portland Trail Blazers. However, Pippen too never won a championship after.

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Yashima Bhatia

1741 articles

Yashima Bhatia is an NBA writer for EssentiallySports who specialises in providing nuanced predictions and updates for matches. She has a Bachelor's degree in journalism and mass communication. Yashima's love for playing the game came up at a young age, when the excitement of the games coupled with the intensity of the Playoffs had her hooked.

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